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Interview » Red Shirts
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Free At Last

Pinit Chanarong (left)  and Saichon Paebua (right)

Pinit Chanarong (left) and Saichon Paebua (right)

Pinit Chanarong and Saichon Paebua made headlines last week when they were acquitted of the arson attacks on the Central World shopping centre on May 19th 2010. At the time of their release, they had spent three years in prison without bail. Thai Red Shirts (TRS) met with Pinit and Saichon to congratulate them on their release and to discuss life as a political prisoner, the taste of freedom, and hopes for their future and as well as the future of Thai democracy.

TRS: How does it feel to be out of jail? Did you expect this outcome?

Pinit: It feels great. I want to say that I expected to be acquitted this whole time, because I could not imagine serving a sentence for a crime I did not commit. But the fact that I had already been in prison for three years dampened my confidence. I am grateful that the judge had mercy on me.

Saichon: I am so happy! To be honest, I did not expect to be acquitted, I expected the worst. When the judge read out the verdict I could not keep back the tears of joy. But I am also thinking about my friends who are still in prison, I worry about them. We need amnesty for political prisoners, and it must be swift.

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“We Fight for Democracy and Justice”- Red Shirt Villagers Speak Out

Thai Red Shirts (TRS) recently traveled to the Khon Kaen province in the North-Eastern region of Isaan to hear from Red Shirt villagers themselves.

The villagers shared their thoughts on everything from the rice pledging program, to revoking Abhisit’s university degree from Oxford.

TRS: Why did you first get involved in the Red Shirt movement? What was the main issue?

We were appalled by the coup in 2006. The amaat refused to accept the people’s choice. The vast majority of us are Thaksin supporters, about 95%, and we started seriously mobilizing in 2008 when we came to Bangkok as Red Shirts to join in the protests.

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Broken Body, Strong Resolve

Wasu and Kooldit at Saturday’s rally in Pathum Thani

Last weekend, at a seminar celebrating the founding of a new chapter of the UDD in Pathum Thani, Thai Red Shirts (TRS) were granted the opportunity to speak to a few of the activists present.

Two of the people at the seminar were Kooldit and her husband Wasu, both of whom had taken part in the protests in April 2010. For them, the protests had a dramatic impact on their lives.

Wasu had formed part of the barricade protecting the protestors against the military outside of Satreewadit School on April 10 2010. He was beaten severely by soldiers and woke up from a coma three days later. The beating left him with permanent brain damage and partial paralysis.

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